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For many runners today, less is definitely more -- at least when it comes to the cushioning in their shoes. Millions have embraced the idea of minimal shoes, which weigh less and encourage a midfoot or forefoot strike rather than a heel-heavy landing. Shoe designers have taken note, engineering a new generation of footwear that lowers the height, or drop, between the heel and forefoot to naturally encourage this running style.
But beware: The closer your foot is to the ground, the more careful you need to be about form. Land primarily on your mid- or forefoot, with feet under hips and body leaning forward slightly. Increase your mileage slowly to avoid injury, and don't be surprised if your feet ache a bit at first; it takes a while to build up strength in their muscles.
For a Barefoot Feeling
The lace-free "slipperlike" design of the 4-ounce Adidas AdiPure Adapt is "extremely comfortable," even without socks, and the shoe "fits like a glove." The firm rubber outsole "won't slip" as you stride, so you get a barefoot feel with protection from the road. ($90, adidas.com)